WWE

Stone Cold Stubble: Backlash to “Backlash” Edition

Braun Strowman as Mike Alstott

Well wrestling fans, here we sit in that glorious post-WrestleMania, post-Superstar Shake-Up, post-Greatest Royal Rumble, Backlash to Backlash sweet spot. At a point where it feels like just about anything can happen in WWE, now felt like the perfect moment to pop back in. Yep, it’s time for a very special edition of STONE COLD STUBBLE, your WWE beard report!

For the clueless, the uninitiated, the clean-shaven: what is Stone Cold Stubble? You see, the beard is having a moment right now in WWE. Take the time, and you’ll notice just about any male superstar worth noticing sports one. It’s the god damned Bearditude Era. Despite the prevalence however, literally nobody is covering this trend. Literally nobody that is, except for me, us, the shadowy shell corporation legally known as Beard Buds Enterprises, LLC.

In a given edition of Stone Cold Stubble, you can expect to read all about beards, and the WWE Superstars that have them. We’ll start off with a power ranking of the current top 10 bearded Superstars, before diving into other, somehow even more niche, beard-centric topics of discussion.

*Note: Currently, the parameters for what is considered a “beard” are, “prominent facial hair where the sideburns, mustache and goatee all connect.” That means guys like Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, and my big, beautiful, balding boy Baron Corbin will not be appearing in the power rankings. This definition however, can be re-interpreted and stretched for future editions, as needed.

Normally, this the part where I say “It’ll all make sense as we go,” but honestly, I’m not sure that it ever does… Let’s just have some fun and make sure no one gets hurt. Onward!

Power Rankings (5/11)

1) Braun Strowman

We’ve been gone for months, but some things never change. Roman Reigns likes to yap like a Yorkshire Terrier about how he’s “the guy” in WWE. Oh honey: this is Braun Strowman’s brave new world, and you’re just living in it. Strowman truly has it all: strength, agility, charisma, comedic timing, a catchphrase, musicianship. Combine all that with one of the fullest, largest, most luscious beards in the game, and this monster among men is unstoppable.

Recently, Braun has become tag team champions with a 10-year-old, and racked up a record-breaking 13 eliminations in the Greatest Royal Rumble. He’s even notched multiple victories over the Republican nominee for mayor in Knox County, Tennessee. It wasn’t enough for him to perform feats of strength by flipping ambulances and what not, now he’s out here sprinting around the ring and running people over like he’s Mike Alstott or something. There may be some confusion as to what direction WWE should go with a nigh unstoppable force like Braun Strowman, but the answer is pretty simple: let him be the one to topple that bulbous tomato Brock Lesnar, and put that silly-looking Universal Championship around his over-sized waist already! What are we waiting for???

2) Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins has been up-and-down the power rankings in past editions of SCS. One time things were so dire, he didn’t rank at all! But now, there are no doubts: Seth “Beardin’” Rollins is at the top of his game, and the top of the WWE food-chain (doesn’t have to wrestle against Braun edition.) Frankly, it was a coin flip between him and Strowman, but coming in second shouldn’t discount the genuinely amazing work Seth Rollins is doing.

Over the last few months, Rollins has had a series of great television matches with Finn Bálor, been a part of an awesome triple threat at WrestleMania, gotten an exhilarating win in the Greatest Royal Rumble ladder match, put on the only worthwhile match at Backlash, and generally been the most compelling men’s singles champion in the company. Seth Rollins is my captain, and I will follow him to the end of the world.

Hell, I’m convinced Seth Rollins could carry my ass to a two-star match. Do I have any training or tinge of athleticism? Hell no! Look, all I’m saying is don’t be surprised when Stanley Wimbledon, a devious tennis instructor with a killer backhand, answers Rollins’ open challenge on the next episode of RAW.

Seth Rollins has a beard made for the sea

3) Daniel Bryan

If there were any doubts whether or not Daniel Bryan could still get it done in the ring, they probably went out the window after he wrestled for over an hour straight, proceeding to get his chest chopped so hard that it looked like attempted murder. Sure, it looks like he won’t be in the titular ladder match at Money in the Bank, but he doesn’t need to be. No reason to unnecessarily risk the health of that brain, or of that 100% vegan, grass-fed beard! We all know how this is going to (should) end: that lousy, clean-shaven heathen The Miz will win the WWE title after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Bryan will then win the Royal Rumble. Then, at WrestleMania 35, their feud will get finally get the culmination it deserves… three to four matches before the non-title main event of Roman Reigns vs. Roman Reigns.

4) AJ Styles

Okay, so his “dream matches” with Shinsuke Nakamura have been kind of disappointing, and I’m pretty sure he’s down to about negative 12 testicles right now after all the low blows he’s endured. But hell, AJ Styles is still WWE Champion. Even though the title itself can’t seem to be booked seriously by WWE for whatever reason (I mean, it literally bears the company name) that has to account for something. Plus, even with all the permanent testicular damage, Styles is still the best wrestler in the company. There still has to be a glimmer of hope that all this trading of hits to the dick he’s been doing with Nakamura will eventually lead to the barn burner of a match these two are capable of. Right?… Guys, hello?…

5) Finn Bálor

Despite being on the losing end of a string of high-profile Intercontinental Championship opportunities, Finn has been on a roll lately. Who needs that super prestigious title held by countless legends anyway? Finn’s going to be in the Money in the Bank ladder match! Finally, the first Universal Champion can get his shot at the title he never lost!

Real talk though: you think Finn ever gets like dust or lint stuck between those abs of his? They’re so well defined and have such depth, it’s not inconceivable.  Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.

6) Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy

This is seriously insane. Bray Wyatt felt more lost out there than Sandy Cohen trying to run the Newport Group in season three of The O.C. Then, Wyatt bumps into crazy Matt Hardy — who’s suddenly bearded, woken, and yammering on about deletion and free healthcare — and suddenly he’s a tag team champion. At last, Bray Wyatt’s stupendous beard gets the run it deserves. Oh yeah, and Woken Matt Hardy is infinitely more fun than Sleepy Matt Hardy.

You know, my career growth has gone kind of stagnant as of late. Not to mention, my right pinkie toenail has really been bothering me. Maybe I take a dip in the Lake of Reincarnation like Bray, emerge a new man, and on a two-and-a-HALF star match with Seth Rollins.

7) Sami Zayn

Still skeptical whether or not Sami Zayn, once crowned “Pro Wrestling’s Last Remaining Good Guy,” can be a convincing dickhead? I sure hope not! Sami Zayn is a natural as an annoying, cheating, conniving dickhead! He’s still losing a bunch, sure, but the character work is fantastic. He gave reading glasses their greatest moment since… ever? Thank god Sami (and Kevin) are no longer fired! Think of all the iconic reading glasses-centric memories we’d be missing out on! You heard it here first: evil Sami Zayn with reading glasses > Evil Spock with a beard, AND THIS IS A COLUMN OSTENSIBLY ABOUT BEARDS BEING THE GREATEST THING.

Sami Zayn looking like an angry accountant with his beard

8) Rusev

The patron saint of Rusev Day is by far one of the most over people in WWE. Fans can’t stop cheering for him, regardless of whether or not he’s on-screen, or even on that particular show that night. Just the idea of Rusev makes the WWE Universe elated. With a beard as dense, yet refined as his, it’s easy to see why.

Due to a conspiracy that clearly goes all the way to the top however, Rusev is still lingering in the mid-card as a vague heel. On top of that, seeds have been planted that him and hype-man extraordinaire Aiden English are going to be split up. First they take away Aiden English’s awesome Van Gogh pants, and now this? Messed up. Stay strong boys, your coronation will come.

9) Elias

All these months and one lost surname later, Elias’ act is still fantastic. Seeing him completely run down the crowd, then still get them to chant that WWE stands for “Walk With Elias” only seconds later, is nothing short of masterful. Elias cannot be denied. Especially now that he’s been feuding with the white rice in a beige bowl that is Bobby Roode’s current state. Hard to fail when your rivals’s character amounts to “has entrance music.”

10) Drew McIntyre

Freshly recovered from a torn bicep, Drew McIntyre recently came up to Raw from NXT. He immediately got paired with Dolph Ziggler, which is whatever, take it or leave it with Dolph, but so far so good! McIntyre cut an absolutely great promo on how he’s the wake up call the WWE locker room needs, and his tandem finisher with Ziggler looks like it could legit mess you up. Also, to be honest, it’s just nice to have a great beard originating of the U.K. again. Things haven’t been the same since Neville moved to that farm upstate…

Hey, check it out, this guy has a beard now! Cool!

Xavier woods has a beard now

Hey, check it out, Xavier Woods has a beard now! Cool!

 

New Enemies

There’s nothing worse than a wrestler who refuses to buy in to the beard trend, a wrestler who defies all of us by daring to keep their face clean-shaven. We’ve already brought up perennial enemy of all things bearded, We’re also at war with the likes of Randy Orton (couldn’t be bothered to grow a beard while pretending for several months to be part of the Wyatt Family) and Chad Gable (didn’t respond to any of our extremely fair and constructive suggestions to adopt some facial hair,) among others. With recent Superstar Shake-Up developments, we can now add Bobby Lashley to our list of enemies.

In the ring, Bobby Lashley is the antithesis of everything this newsletter stands for. He appears to be, not only beardless, but completely hairless. Facial hair? Forget about it! Head hair? Hardly! Chest hair? Can’t see any! Back hair? Bahahahaha, no. Simply put, the man looks very shiny and smooth, and it’s unsettling.

Outside the ring is something else entirely. This past week on RAW, Lashley had an extended interview with Renee Young, where he proceeded to do little more than detail the quirks of his three older sisters.(?) I think it was supposed to come across as sweet and relatable. Really though, it just made Lashley seem like a psychopath. Do not trust this man, he will try to make you unwittingly join his family. Avoid at all costs.

One more thing: Lashley… keep your bizarrely hairless body away from Braun Strowman. We don’t want him getting any crazy ideas…

 

And now, a moment to appreciate that even though they’ve lost The Miz, currently have no tag team name, and this picture is from a RAW from two weeks ago, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are still fashion gods:

Bo and Axel: fashion icons with beards

YEAH BABY!


That’ll about do it for this special, Backlash to Backlash edition of Stone Cold Stubble. Does this mean we’re back and better than ever? In November, I promised this would become a monthly column. Then, I couldn’t deliver another edition until this one. This time, I’m going to try and set expectations as low as possible. No, we’re not back and better than ever. In fact, there will never be another Stone Cold Stubble ever again… 

Okay bye, love you, drive safe!

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